Legislation on conserving Antarctic marine living resources to come into force on July 1
The Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CAMLR Convention) is an international convention for regulating activities associated with the rational utilisation and management of the marine living resources in the Convention Area. The CAMLR Convention will also be applied to Hong Kong from July 1.
A spokesman for the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) said, "One of the species regulated under the CAMLR Convention is toothfish, which includes the Antarctic toothfish (Dissostichus mawsoni) and the Patagonian toothfish (D. eleginoides), both of which are commonly found in the waters around Antarctica. Toothfish are harvested and traded internationally and sold as a table fish in some places under different market names including Chilean seabass and white cod. They are highly vulnerable to overfishing."
The spokesman added, "With a view to protecting toothfish from illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing internationally, and to contribute to the concerted international efforts in the protection and sustainable use of marine resources, the Government decided to implement the relevant provisions of the CAMLR Convention and Conservation Measures (CMs) in Hong Kong. A new piece of legislation, the CAMLR Ordinance, has been made to provide a legal basis and necessary powers for the Director of Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation (DAFC) and his authorised officers."
At the same time, the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (Toothfish Catch Documentation Scheme) Regulation (Cap 635A) and the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (Port Inspection and Control) Regulation (Cap 635B) have been made to implement the Toothfish Catch Documentation Scheme (CDS) and port inspection and control measures under the CAMLR Convention.
Under the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (Toothfish Catch Documentation Scheme) Regulation (Cap 635A), any import, export or re-export of live or dead toothfish items, including any flesh or other part (whether raw, or in any way processed or preserved) is prohibited except under and in accordance with an import licence, an export licence or a re-export licence issued by the DAFC. Applications for an import licence, an export licence or a re-export licence must be made to the DAFC in a specified form, together with payment of a prescribed fee and accompanied by the corresponding CDS documents issued in respect of the toothfish items to be imported, exported or re-exported.
Furthermore, under the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (Port Inspection and Control) Regulation (Cap 635B), the master or the owner or an agent of the owner of the fishing vessel carrying toothfish or other Antarctic marine living resources seeking to enter Hong Kong waters will need to notify the DAFC at least 48 hours before their expected arrival, to provide the requested information of the vessel and the catch, and to give a written declaration that the vessel has not engaged in IUU fishing activities. Fishing vessels carrying toothfish or other Antarctic marine organisms entering Hong Kong will be inspected by authorised officers as provided in Cap 635B to check whether harvesting activities in the Convention Area are carried out in accordance with the CMs. A fishing vessel will be denied entry into Hong Kong waters if it is on a list of IUU vessels, the vessel has been involved in IUU fishing, or there is a failure to provide the advance notification, information or declaration.
The maximum penalty as stipulated in the CAMLR Ordinance is a fine of $100,000 and imprisonment for one year.
For details of the CAMLR Ordinance and the requirements concerned, please visit www.afcd.gov.hk/english/fisheries/CCAMLR/ccamlr_Main.html.
Ends/Monday, June 29, 2020
Issued at HKT 16:40
Issued at HKT 16:40